Prefrontal Structural and Functional Brain Imaging Findings in Antisocial, Violent, and Psychopathic Individuals: A Meta-Analysis

Laboratory of NeuroImaging, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 11/2009; 174(2):81-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.03.012
Source: PubMed


Brain-imaging studies suggest that antisocial and violent behavior is associated with structural and functional deficits in the prefrontal cortex, but there is heterogeneity in findings and it is unclear whether findings apply to psychopaths, non-violent offenders, community-based samples, and studies employing psychiatric controls. A meta-analysis was conducted on 43 structural and functional imaging studies, and the results show significantly reduced prefrontal structure and function in antisocial individuals. Effect sizes were significant for both structural and functional studies. With minor exceptions, no statistically significant moderating effects of sample characteristics and methodological variables were observed. Findings were localized to the right orbitofrontal cortex, right anterior cingulate cortex, and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Findings confirm the replicability of prefrontal structural and functional impairments in antisocial populations and highlight the involvement of orbitofrontal, dorsolateral frontal, and anterior cingulate cortex in antisocial behavior.

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    • "Research findings have found evidence that exposure to media violence (McCrory et al., 2010), abuse (Hart & Rubia, 2012; McCrory et al., 2010), and the condition of conduct disorder (Yang & Raine, 2009) collectively impact similar areas of the brain among children and adolescents. Evidence links exposure to violence with the development of abnormalities in the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and striatum (Hart & Rubia, 2012; McCrory et al., 2010; Yang & Raine, 2009). When considering that these structures are theorized to be involved in empathy , emotional regulation, decision-making, and aggression, evidence suggests a link between exposure to violence, neurological correlates of violence, and antisocial behavior (Mehta, Goetz, & Carré, 2013). "
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